British physicist Stephen Hawking has stepped into a political black hole.
He announced this week that he was withdrawing from a conference in Israel to protest that country's treatment of Palestinians, throwing his weight behind an academic boycott of the Jewish state. The Guardian reports:
If you've followed the story of "Prisoner X," the mysterious Israeli-Australian national, who allegedly committed suicide in an Israeli prison after being secretly held, you have no doubt asked yourself: What did Ben Zygier, who worked for Israel's spy agency, do for the country to imprison him and then keep everything about his arrest — or even his existence — secret for years?
Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center near Damascus early Sunday, according to intelligence reports and Syrian state media. The attack prompted Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad to deem it a "declaration of war" by Israel, CNN reports.